Covid-19 has caused major delays in the opening of Wicklow Hospice at Magheramore, while fundraising activities were also impacted upon.
The official launch of the hospice took place in January of this year, but the outbreak of the pandemic means the 15-bed facility has yet to open. The delivery of much of the equipment and products required for the hospice and ordered from other countries has been considerably delayed due to lockdown and travel restrictions.
'The big question at the moment is when will the hospice be able to open,' said Sinead Tarmey of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation.
'Covid-19 had a major impact and we don't have any actual opening date at the moment. Lockdown caused by the coronavirus meant a lot of stock was left sitting and waiting in different countries.
'Covid caused major delays in many deliveries. Slowly but surely things are beginning to arrive in. The hydro baths just arrived, as well as the holistic therapies for the residents.
'Covid has definitely delayed things but we are getting there again. At the moment we are all chomping at the bit to get open, but the last thing we want to do is open when we aren't properly ready.'
Covid also affected many of the fundraising activities organised by both the Wicklow Hospice Foundation and supporters. Volunteers weren't able to hit the pavements for the annual Sun Flower Day, so the annual fundraiser had to be held online for the first time.
'It was tough, as it was for all charities,' acknowledged Sinead.
'Covid had a major impact on our fundraisers, especially our Sunflower Day. Usually we would have collectors out on the street connecting with the people, but obviously we couldn't do that this year. It was an online campaign this year. Usually we would raise about €7,000, but this time we brought in €3,000.
'We also couldn't hold our annual Festival of Running but we had 37 people sign up in July to do the event online, including one man who lived in California. We have other fundraisers lined up now things are beginning to get back to normal. The Glen to Glen hike is on in September, as is the dip in the nip for men only at Brittas Bay. We also have drive-in bingo planned. We would also be more than delighted with any fundraisers members of the public may have in mind.'
The hospice, which will receive operational funding from the HSE, consists of a 15 single room specialist palliative care in-patient unit, with day care, outpatient clinics, respite care and access to multi disciplinary specialist services. The specialist palliative care homecare team will also operate from the hospice.
The 3.5 acre site was donated by the Columban Sisters and Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services (OLH&CS) will run the hospice.